What are the chances of U2 doing a non-static setlist this tour? - U2 Feedback

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Old 02-19-2009, 11:06 PM   #1
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What are the chances of U2 doing a non-static setlist this tour?

I was just thinking...I never had an issue with U2's static setlists the way some people do, I think they were well done for the most part. But now, I think U2 have finally reached the point where a static setlist can be quite prohibitive. Let's say they play at least 8 songs from NLOTH on a regular basis. If they stick to their 22-25 song quota, that leaves 14-17 more songs. Put in the handful of songs from this decade that are unlikely to be omitted(Beautiful Day, Elevation, Vertigo, maybe one more from Bomb), and you're at 10-13 songs left. To pick only 10-13 other songs from the nine records they released prior to 2000 is to prohibit anything that wasn't a big a single in the first 20 years of their career. There's so much material in their back catalog to choose from. I don't mind if they shy away from the Boy material because they did a lot of it on the Vertigo tour, but there's still The Unforgettable Fire, A Sort Of Homecoming, Wire, Exit, Running To Stand Still, One Tree Hill, Even Better Than The Real Thing, Ultraviolet(Light My Way), Love Is Blindness, Lemon, Stay(Faraway, So Close), Dirty Day, Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me Kill Me, any number of Pop songs, just to name a few, that would never see the light of day if they just fill those 10-13 slots with SBS/NYD/Pride/Bad/Streets(who am I kidding, U2 may never play a show without Streets again)/Still/WOWY/Bullet(though I'm one who thinks Bullet still sounds great)/One, etc every night. I'm not saying they should cut those songs out completely, I'm just saying they should rotate them.

Actually, part of me hopes they go full-out ZooTV style, playing a bunch of songs from the new album to begin with, and omitting some of their biggest, sometimes best, but played out hits whether their fans like it or not.

ANYWAY...anyone with me in wanting to see U2 rotate the setlist this tour? And what do you think the chances of it happening are?
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Old 02-20-2009, 07:35 AM   #2
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U2 have such a ridiculous amount of material that they could effectively put together a show out of spare parts and people would still recognise one or two of the songs, and immensely enjoy the rest of them, I'd say.

But yes, I'm hoping that a) this doesn't become like the U218 Singles Tour By Stealth (aka Vertigo Tour, fifth leg), meaning that they actually play more than three songs from the album for the entire tour and b) the setlist varies considerably, going to Zooropa and Pop as the experimental predecessors of NLOTH.

Also, if the hopefully-true-probably-bull idea about the second LP / EP coming out within a year is true, then we'd have ZooTV all over again, which I'm not averse to.
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Old 02-20-2009, 04:54 PM   #3
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all valid points. its best to expect the more conservative route with u2. the safest bet is that they have about 40 or so songs they are comfortable playing, and will only change the set by a few songs each night.

that is pretty much what they always do. throw in that this seems to be a big production in stadiums, an suddenly the odds of them being more conservative gets bigger.
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Old 03-27-2009, 11:25 PM   #4
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ANYWAY...anyone with me in wanting to see U2 rotate the setlist this tour?

And what do you think the chances of it happening are?
Part A of Your Post -- Yes, rotate the dang list.

Part B -- Snowballz chance in Hell. Too much lighting and other special stuff going on including backing tracks like pianos, cellos and what have you that coordinate wiht a static list.
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Old 03-28-2009, 04:48 PM   #5
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U2 have such a ridiculous amount of material that they could effectively put together a show out of spare parts and people would still recognise one or two of the songs, and immensely enjoy the rest of them, I'd say.

But yes, I'm hoping that a) this doesn't become like the U218 Singles Tour By Stealth (aka Vertigo Tour, fifth leg), meaning that they actually play more than three songs from the album for the entire tour and b) the setlist varies considerably, going to Zooropa and Pop as the experimental predecessors of NLOTH.

Also, if the hopefully-true-probably-bull idea about the second LP / EP coming out within a year is true, then we'd have ZooTV all over again, which I'm not averse to.
The difference between U2360 and the fifth leg of the Vertigo Tour (God love it) is that the band realized by late 2006 that their tour was in support of a crappy (by their standards) album, whereas U2360 is in support of a... much less crappy album. And I think they know it.
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Old 03-29-2009, 09:17 AM   #6
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I don't see a non-static set list happening for the same leg of the tour. It's just not feasible. Maybe switching one or two songs here and there or snippets. It gets hard for the band to remember what city they're currently in when they're touring, I'm sure it's harder for them to also remember what songs they'll have to play in what city...

I think what they should do is revamp the set list for different legs of the tour. They've already announced this optimistic touring schedule that will span something like 2 years. We, the fans, want to hear as many U2 songs as possible. And that means a list of something like 40+ songs. If we have to go to 1-2 shows for each leg, so be it.

They usually have a mini break in between each leg of the tour. So they can use that time to switch mode, switch setlists, etc. Bono said himself this tour they're gonna try for it not to be too dressed up. Seriously boys, do what you do best, play your music. Don't worry so much about staging the songs...
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Old 03-31-2009, 06:30 AM   #7
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Most of all, they need to be comfortable on stage playing. That way they will sound the best. For U2, I think, being comfortable means learning a setlist and pretty much sticking to it for the whole tour. That is pretty much the basis of their entire career, with only a few exceptions. So we will get static setlists once again. They are getting 'old' now. Old people don't like change!
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Old 03-31-2009, 06:45 AM   #8
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They are getting 'old' now. Old people don't like change!
I think Larry's recent drumming, and quite a lot of NLOTH actually, disagree with you on this point.
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Old 03-31-2009, 06:49 AM   #9
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I think Larry's recent drumming, and quite a lot of NLOTH actually, disagree with you on this point.
Not getting old? Have they found the fountain of youth? Will Edge get hair again?
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Old 03-31-2009, 11:07 AM   #10
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Slim. It's a huge stadion tour and history tells us there had been barely any setlist variaton on these big production shows (the three Dublin nights in 2005 being the only exception I can think of right now).

Bono said in a recent interview that he's aware that because of the Net, people tend to have more info about the setlists, so "they'll try to do something with that". I'll believe when I see/hear it.

They could at least give us 6-7 different songs on the second show in the same city. That's not asking too much, is it?
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Old 03-31-2009, 03:55 PM   #11
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It is all dependent on the visuals. The timing aspect will be the biggest reason we'd get a static setlist. If there aren't specific cues for a lot of the show we might be surprised but I doubt that will be the case.
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Old 03-31-2009, 04:52 PM   #12
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It is all dependent on the visuals. The timing aspect will be the biggest reason we'd get a static setlist. If there aren't specific cues for a lot of the show we might be surprised but I doubt that will be the case.
Visuals or no visuals, U2 have almost always done static setlists. The UF tour probably has the most static setlists of all. But it had no visuals. So tying static setlists into visuals is a little shakey.
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Old 03-31-2009, 08:58 PM   #13
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Visuals or no visuals, U2 have almost always done static setlists. The UF tour probably has the most static setlists of all. But it had no visuals. So tying static setlists into visuals is a little shakey.
U2's setlists have more variation than alot of bands that I have seen. I am talking about the big ones- rolling stones, Police, AC/DC, etc. Hell, the Police and AC/DC even had their setlist by leg on their tour's wikipedia page that is how predictable it was.

U2 has always at least changed 1 or 2 songs nightly, most of the time even more, and always brings in different songs sporadically to change things up.

I really dispute the whole notion that U2's setlists are static. Have all of you people not just followed the same tour I did? As I recall, the Vertigo Tour had the most setlist variation since Lovetown.

Yes, agree 100% that U2 needs to rotate the classic hits and throw in a little more of what we all love-exit, uf, asoh, one tree hill, love is blindness, please, etc, but to say that U2 has static setlists is absurd with the acts I mentioned out there. U2 is the biggest draw in the world, and has pretty dynamic setlists given that fact. You would not expect a band like that to have trotted out obscure non singles from their first album, but that is exactly what U2 did last tour.

As for the staging/lighting, the NLOTH new songs will take some time to get down, but once all of that stuff is programmed into computers(all soundboard choreography is done like that these days), it is very easy. It is not like U2 could not work with their very competent crew to do some simple light arrangements for songs like A sort of homecoming and the Unforgettable Fire . Alot of planning goes into each show, and these people are professionals who can change things on the fly if the have to, though like I said, technology pretty much ensures they dont. Plus, they could have an idea of what songs they would like to dig out of the catalogue before the tour and work on arrangements for those particular songs. This way, they come into the tour with 50-55 songs total ready and 40 or so of these to put in heavy rotation.

The stadium shows in Latin America and the Pacific on Vertigo saw songs come in and out seamlessly night after night, setlist ordering changed, etc. This tour will be innovative, but it is not as if it is reinventing the wheel, at least as far as ability to change setlists goes.

My best guess Zoo TV type arrangement for NLOTH songs, heavy at the beginning. Only play the "mandatory classics" every night- for Zoo this was NYD, Streets and Pride, for 360, this will be Streets, One and BD- and rotate the rest of the classics with other songs we have discussed.
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Old 03-31-2009, 10:53 PM   #14
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U2's setlists have more variation than alot of bands that I have seen. I am talking about the big ones- rolling stones, Police, AC/DC, etc. Hell, the Police and AC/DC even had their setlist by leg on their tour's wikipedia page that is how predictable it was.

U2 has always at least changed 1 or 2 songs nightly, most of the time even more, and always brings in different songs sporadically to change things up.

I really dispute the whole notion that U2's setlists are static. Have all of you people not just followed the same tour I did? As I recall, the Vertigo Tour had the most setlist variation since Lovetown.
It depends on who you compare U2's setlists to. Pearl Jam's setlists are the antithesis of U2's. On two consecutive night's they could play as many distinct songs as U2 would play in an entire tour (100+ shows).
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Old 03-31-2009, 11:24 PM   #15
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It depends on who you compare U2's setlists to. Pearl Jam's setlists are the antithesis of U2's. On two consecutive night's they could play as many distinct songs as U2 would play in an entire tour (100+ shows).
Very, very true, point well taken. Pearl Jam is not at the same level of commercial and touring success as U2 is, not by a long shot. You dont see them going out on world tours supporting relevant current material with the spotlight on them as the event of the year. Same deal with REM. Some setlist variation, a considerable degree more than U2 but the bands are not even in the same league in terms of status. Note, that does not mean I do not enjoy PJ and REM to some extent, I do, just stating fact.

For U2's top tier, they have the most varied setlists. For the middle tier/other major acts like REM, PJ, Petty, etc setlists that vary wildly(I remember Pearl Jam doing a full acoustic set at Mansfield, MA a show I worked) are present to be sure, but the norm is as much or less variation than U2 for sure. Pearl Jam is the extreme exception to the rule.
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Old 03-31-2009, 11:29 PM   #16
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I really hope they're willing to take some risks with song choices in these stadium shows. Maybe they'll revisit some of the Eno/Lanois nuggets from past albums...."Ultra Violet", "Wire", "One Tree Hill", "Lemon"............?????????????????????
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Old 03-31-2009, 11:38 PM   #17
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Very, very true, point well taken. Pearl Jam is not at the same level of commercial and touring success as U2 is, not by a long shot. You dont see them going out on world tours supporting relevant current material with the spotlight on them as the event of the year. Same deal with REM. Some setlist variation, a considerable degree more than U2 but the bands are not even in the same league in terms of status. Note, that does not mean I do not enjoy PJ and REM to some extent, I do, just stating fact.

For U2's top tier, they have the most varied setlists. For the middle tier/other major acts like REM, PJ, Petty, etc setlists that vary wildly(I remember Pearl Jam doing a full acoustic set at Mansfield, MA a show I worked) are present to be sure, but the norm is as much or less variation than U2 for sure. Pearl Jam is the extreme exception to the rule.
But U2 had static setlists even when they were a middle tier artist! The notion of using U2's current day big name status combined with their complex staging as a reason for relatively static setlists is a little flawed. They have always had static setlists. As fans of this band it is important to recognise this is what keep them happy, has always kept them happy, and we in turn have to accept it. They were doing static setlists in the mid 80's!
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Old 04-01-2009, 02:16 AM   #18
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Not getting old? Have they found the fountain of youth? Will Edge get hair again?
Pretty sure I was talking about change, seeing as how drumming doesn't age, and NLOTH is about 5 minutes old. U2 have always changed. It's whether or not we recognise it as a significant change that's the difference.
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Old 04-01-2009, 02:17 AM   #19
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But U2 had static setlists even when they were a middle tier artist! The notion of using U2's current day big name status combined with their complex staging as a reason for relatively static setlists is a little flawed. They have always had static setlists. As fans of this band it is important to recognise this is what keep them happy, has always kept them happy, and we in turn have to accept it. They were doing static setlists in the mid 80's!
Lovetown Tour, late 80s.

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Old 04-01-2009, 04:19 AM   #20
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Very, very true, point well taken. Pearl Jam is not at the same level of commercial and touring success as U2 is, not by a long shot. You dont see them going out on world tours supporting relevant current material with the spotlight on them as the event of the year. Same deal with REM. Some setlist variation, a considerable degree more than U2 but the bands are not even in the same league in terms of status. Note, that does not mean I do not enjoy PJ and REM to some extent, I do, just stating fact.

For U2's top tier, they have the most varied setlists. For the middle tier/other major acts like REM, PJ, Petty, etc setlists that vary wildly(I remember Pearl Jam doing a full acoustic set at Mansfield, MA a show I worked) are present to be sure, but the norm is as much or less variation than U2 for sure. Pearl Jam is the extreme exception to the rule.
So if a band doesn't sell a couple of million copies and is labeled as "event of the year", it isn't relevant today? Uh-huh. How about Radiohead? Their setlists are far less static than the U2 ones, especially when they're playing two nights in the same city. I'm not a big fan of Springsteen, but he mixes it up a lot as I know. Metallica offers decent variation (6-7 different songs per concert) as well. Even the Vertigo tour, which was U2's most varied tour, had rarely more than 3 different songs on two nights in a row. Lovetown was cool, but the fact is that they were mostly playing the same 20-23 songs in different order.

Bands like Pearl Jam, The Cure and R.E.M. still have huge fan followings and offer some of the finest concerts an average rock fan could attend today. And nobody is asking U2, that in their history mostly do have static setlists (apart from a couple of exceptions), to have such extreme variation as Pearl Jam. Something that Radiohead does these days would be great.

Oh sure, there's Depeche Mode and Oasis that play the exact same setlist every night, which is something U2 does avoid to an extent (apart from Popmart). But to say that they don't have static (or barely varied, if you will) setlists by nature most of the time is kinda avoiding the obvious.
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